Hard light

My Favourite Types of Indoor Natural Light

Winter is certainly sticking around up here in the Northern Hemisphere where I live. Although most have made it through the majority of winter, if I’m being honest as opposed to optimistic, I know that we will not see signs of spring, outdoors, until about late April early May. However, signs of the coming spring are abundant inside my home. Once February arrives I begin to see new light in my home that disappeared during the darkest of the winter days. I get really excited this time of year discovering new light and using it in fun and interesting ways.

For those of you who know me as a photographer you will know that I’m incredibly passionate about light. I especially enjoy watching light move and change throughout the seasons inside my home. It’s like a little gift. As spring approaches and I begin to see the significant and dynamic changes within the light inside my home I begin to ponder how I can push my light use it in a creative way.

Here are some of the types of light I like to look for and use within my home.

1. Soft light

In its most basic form natural light found indoors can fall into two different categories: Soft or hard light. If you are new to the study of light, soft natural light can be defined as light that generally has a softer transition from highlight into shadow. If there is no clear definition between lightness and darkness the light is defined as soft. Soft light can be used in many different ways inside your home and is probably the most used light. I also think that soft light is often easiest to photograph.

ISO 400, 50mm, Freelensed, 1/1000SS

ISO 400, 50mm, Freelensed, 1/1000SS

2. Hard light

Hard natural light can been seen in situations where there is a distinct line between a highlight and shadow without a smooth transition between the two. I really enjoy playing with hard light which can bring unique and fun patterns into a scene.

ISO 100, 50mm, Freelensed, 1/1000SS

ISO 100, 50mm, Freelensed, 1/1000SS

3. Patterned light

Patterned light is one of my favourite types of light. It can result from both hard and soft light but is very often hard or towards the harder side of soft in nature. I think it’s really creative light and can be used in all kinds of ways to add drama or unique interest into an image.

ISO 320, 35mm, 3.5f, 1/500SS

ISO 320, 35mm, 3.5f, 1/500SS

4. Sunburst or sun flare

Capturing a sunburst or sun flare adds gorgeous dynamic light into an image. A sunburst and sun flare can be found and captured when the sun is directly shining in through a window. You will most often see hard light in your home when there is the possibility of capturing a sunburst or sun flare. It’s easiest to capture that burst or dispersion of light rays when the sun is being filtered through or hitting an object such as the side of a window frame. This helps disperse the light creating that sunburst. Flare will occur when the light enters the lens and can be controlled with small movements in your positioning. A sunburst and sun flare can occur together or separately.

ISO 400, 35mm, 3.5f, 1/250SS

ISO 400, 35mm, 3.5f, 1/250SS

5. Silhouette

Silhouette isn’t as much a type of light rather it is how a photographer uses the dynamic range within a scene but I think it’s worth mentioning. Silhouettes are a beautiful way to highlight a profile or enhance a mood within an image. A tip here is to try and have your subject’s limbs separated from his or her body so that there is definition and your subject doesn’t become a black blob.

ISO 1600, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/320SS

ISO 1600, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/320SS

Here’s a little challenge for you this coming week! I’d love to see you find these types of light situations in your home and then shoot for them! Actively noticing the light in your environment will help you understand light better which in turn will result in you becoming a stronger photographer! Another tip is to pull out your Photographer’s Notebook! Have you picked one up for yourself yet? Study the light inside your home and jot down notes about what you see! This will help you not only learn about the light in your home but you’ll know where to go when you want to use a certain type of light in a creative way!

all content and images © Gina Yeo Photography, 2019